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#1
I've seen in the Pit the last few weeks people arguing about what is Middle Class. Mainly between my interactions with willT, who is British. Though I've seen it other times between Americans and users from other countries.

So how do you define "middle class." I think Americans define it very broadly. There's that ideal of the "American Dream" that most people want to be in. And that is very middle class. You'll have people who make over 200 grand a year say they're middle class and people who make 40 thousand or less say the same. Everyone wants to be lumped into that group because it's the ideal. No one wants to say they're working class, let alone anything lower.

I don't know. Do you guys agree? Do non-Americans feel the same way about how people define it in your country?

I really have idea what middle class is supposed to mean anymore....

Oh, and I guess define it based on a family of four or something
___

Quote by The_Blode
she was saying things like... do you want to netflix and chill but just the chill part...too bad she'll never know that I only like the Netflix part...
#2
the ones in the middle
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#3
Making £35,000-£100,000 p/a?

Welcome to the middle class?

Own your own pool?

Definitely welcome to the middle class
#4
If you eagerly await the deaths of elderly relatives so that you can come into money then you're middle class.

^ You don't get to change class, dummy.
#5
Quote by Todd Hart
If you eagerly await the deaths of elderly relatives so that you can come into money then you're middle class.

That sounds like rich people talk
___

Quote by The_Blode
she was saying things like... do you want to netflix and chill but just the chill part...too bad she'll never know that I only like the Netflix part...
#6
Wait, how come you can't change classes? Like if you come from a working class family but you are a millionaire are you still working class?
cat
#7
i would probably place myself as upper class though my family doesn't quite fit the stereotypes. not all of them, at least.
#8
at least one person in the family has a job making more than minimum wage
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#9
Quote by guitarxo
Wait, how come you can't change classes? Like if you come from a working class family but you are a millionaire are you still working class?

In many ways you can't really ditch the class you're born in to.

Basically it's like asking "Can first generation immigrants ever be fully integrated in to a new society?"

If you answer no, it's basically the same reasons but adjust for class instead of society

EDIT: @Hydra

If someone I meet knows both their parents I assume middle class
#10
Quote by guitarxo
Wait, how come you can't change classes? Like if you come from a working class family but you are a millionaire are you still working class?


Only if you properly earn the money. Someone like Rooney, for example, is still scum working class.

Americans seem to throw middle and upper class labels around everywhere.
...Stapling helium to penguins since 1949.
Last edited by Todd Hart at Jun 9, 2013,
#11
I used to think middle class meant anything above 20k a year. Then I found out most people consider it anywhere from 35-50k and above. I'f so, I'm poorer than the dirt my apartment complex sits on.
pinga
#12
I think most people consider themselves middle class, because everyone knows someone with more and someone with less money than themselves.

I don't think it's defined strictly by income level. For example, someone who recently started an office job might be earning less than an experienced plumber. Yet, office jobs are generally associated with the middle class.
#13
Are you referring to the middle class as an ideological entity—as in, sort of a rhetorical talking point exploited by politicians in their attempt to appeal to the broadest cross-section of society (because in America, EVERYONE seems to be middle class...)—OR in terms of actual socio-economic standing.

Because the middle class would refer to, let's say, the middle three fifths of a society if you divided the society into 5 cross sections dependent upon income or wealth.

EDIT: let me go further.

The MEDIAN family income in the USA hovers somewhere around $50,000. So a family making in excess of about $120-140k would be in the top 10%. Now what's crazy is that most of these families in this top decile would consider themselves "middle class," even though they make more money than 90% of the rest of this country (probably holds true through the 95% percentile). Socioeconomically, they probably ARE middle class (upper middle class) because unless your income exceeds somewhere around the $350,000, odds are you are deriving your wealth almost solely on income (as opposed to capital gains/stock dividends, or rent/land property, etc.)—so these families still live a pay-to-paycheck life.

tl;dr: read J. Stiglitz
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Last edited by Weeping_Demon7 at Jun 9, 2013,
#14
Quote by sashki
I think most people consider themselves middle class, because everyone knows someone with more and someone with less money than themselves

My household's income minus benefits has been £0 for all but 2 of the last 10 years of my life lol

Americans seem to throw middle and upper class labels around everywhere.
It's because they're all optimistic and full of piss and vinegar. Wait till class labels are beaten into society for a few centuries and they'll be back to the lowly Englishmen they once were
Last edited by willT08 at Jun 9, 2013,
#15
Quote by willT08
My household's income minus benefits has been £0 for all but 2 of the last 10 years of my life lol

Well then you sure as hell aren't working class HOHOHOHO I should not have said that

I would say that class is more a matter of personal values than income level, although I can't really identify what those personal values are. My family has always been middle-class so my perspective is limited. The divisions aren't as clear as people (or the media) seem to suggest.
Last edited by sashki at Jun 9, 2013,
#16
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22007058

Read this! I think it's fair to say having three classes to describe such a diverse society is pretty inadequate. This survey puts it at seven, albeit in the UK but a lot will apply to the US as well and indeed most of the rest of the developed world.
#17
Quote by Meikle Treikle
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22007058

Read this! I think it's fair to say having three classes to describe such a diverse society is pretty inadequate. This survey puts it at seven, albeit in the UK but a lot will apply to the US as well and indeed most of the rest of the developed world.


That survey is dumb beyond belief. Apparently if you like jazz you move up from working to middle class.
...Stapling helium to penguins since 1949.
#18
Quote by Meikle Treikle
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22007058

Read this! I think it's fair to say having three classes to describe such a diverse society is pretty inadequate. This survey puts it at seven, albeit in the UK but a lot will apply to the US as well and indeed most of the rest of the developed world.

I remember I didn't like that when I first read it because it breaks up the working class almost whimsically whereas everything above them is kept together quite neatly and I really don't like blatant attempts to separate a class that needs to be unified more than any other.

I still don't like it incidentally.
#19
I see what you mean and it obviously has to generalise, but surely you'd agree that it's not purely economics that defines someone's class? Cultural and social factors are at least relevant.
#21
Quote by guitarxo
Wait, how come you can't change classes? Like if you come from a working class family but you are a millionaire are you still working class?

Thats an interesting question, and some would say so. It depends on the person.

Heres a three part documentary series about various perspectives on the issue of class in the UK, by artist Grayson Perry;

But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#22
Quote by Meikle Treikle
I see what you mean and it obviously has to generalise, but surely you'd agree that it's not purely economics that defines someone's class? Cultural and social factors are at least relevant.

Barely. A kid living 7th floor of his highrise in Camden isn't middle class because he likes Jazz.

The kid living with his Doctor dad and Lawyer mum isn't working class because he likes Grime
#23
I entirely agree, but that's why I said they could be seen as relevant, and certainly not the overriding and only factor like your examples seem to suggest.

We're talking about differences on the margin, i.e. families with identical household income and economic circumstances could potentially be seen as different classes if they lead entirely different lifestyles, culturally and socially.

I'm not saying this new method is the answer, but I thought the TS might find a new perspective on class interesting.
#24
Quote by Meikle Treikle
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22007058

Read this! I think it's fair to say having three classes to describe such a diverse society is pretty inadequate. This survey puts it at seven, albeit in the UK but a lot will apply to the US as well and indeed most of the rest of the developed world.

according to this my family belonged to the precariat group until ~5 years ago and now we are part of the established middle class. I don't know how legit this is though

Quote by Hydra150
Thats an interesting question, and some would say so. It depends on the person.

Heres a three part documentary series about various perspectives on the issue of class in the UK, by artist Grayson Perry;


Thanks. I can't watch the first 2 parts since it's not available in my country but I'll see if I can find it elsewhere
cat
Last edited by guitarxo at Jun 9, 2013,
#26
Quote by guitarxo
according to this my family belonged to the precariat group until ~5 years ago and now we are part of the established middle class. I don't know how legit this is though

It's not at all basically

Also, that you feel as if that'd be an innacurate description of what's happened to your family kind of explains your question earlier
#27
Fun fact: a lot of people who are lower class define themselves as middle class. They often don't realize that they are lower class because they don't fit the standard poor image. This overall attitude was shown in a Fox News story a few years back where they talked about all the luxuries the poor had like Xboxes and cellphones (neither of which are unobtainable if you save) but also things like refrigerators, microwaves, etc.

So lower class is a hard thing to peg down. Is it what society considers lower class or is it what tax brackets you fall in? Is the shame of being lower class preventing people from getting available aide?
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#28
Quote by willT08

EDIT: @Hydra

If someone I meet knows both their parents I assume middle class

That's a pretty broad generalisation.
But I was thinking recently, I guess the couple who own/run the shop I work in are middle class, but I can't hold it against them. They have been hard working their whole lives, have run their own retail businesses throughout their career to support a growing family. The shop is in a shitty part of Glasgow, where they sell stuff to working class people, but they come from outside of Glasgow (don't know the place well, it's a safe bet that it's a nicer area though). He plays golf, she sings in a choir (correction: operatic society ), they go on a couple holidays a year. I suppose that's the aspiration, to work hard and be rewarded by comfort and occasional luxury.

Thing is, they are both of retirement age, and are gonna be thinking about closing up shop (or opening fewer days a week) in the not too distant future. This is where I am grateful that they are 'middle-class' - I suppose class can be defined/judged by the company one keeps and what the family is like, and I like to think that if I don't have a better job by the time they retire they can recommend me to someone - his brother is a manager/owner in a different (franchised) shop, I know that one of their daughters is the manager in a greggs, another works in the passport office, a son-in-law is the chef at a good restaurant in town, they mentioned another relation who just moved into the city to work for some branch of the government. I think I told the chat thread of how I was motivated to stick at the crappy job when my boss told of how his brother is a semi-retired CEO millionaire in Canada.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Last edited by Hydra150 at Jun 9, 2013,
#29
I think it's really as simple as not having to worry about everything financially, but not being able to be ridiculous about it. Being able to just throw stuff in the cart as you please without having to think about how it might affect you and your bank along the line. Being able to buy a brand new car every 5 years if you please. That sort of thing.

In my head for an American family of four in a normal place without really high living expenses it goes something like

Lower: 25k and under
Middle: 30k-65k
Upper: 65k +

I know that leaves a blank spot and it's probably wildly different from most views but that's how I see it regardless.
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#31
Quote by lolmnt
Is the shame of being lower class preventing people from getting available aide?

From abroad it seems that shaming the poor plays as big a role as 'the American dream' in the massive anti-welfare situation in the US.

And Hydra

>Glasgow
>Middle Class

lol

But nah for real I read that post and just don't have anything to say back
#33
Quote by willT08
It's not at all basically

Also, that you feel as if that'd be an innacurate description of what's happened to your family kind of explains your question earlier

Yeah pretty much haha. I mean according to income levels we're middle class on this thing, but that's basically it
cat
#34
Quote by Bob_Sacamano
I think it's really as simple as not having to worry about everything financially, but not being able to be ridiculous about it. Being able to just throw stuff in the cart as you please without having to think about how it might affect you and your bank along the line. Being able to buy a brand new car every 5 years if you please. That sort of thing.

In my head for an American family of four in a normal place without really high living expenses it goes something like

Lower: 25k and under
Middle: 30k-65k
Upper: 65k +

I know that leaves a blank spot and it's probably wildly different from most views but that's how I see it regardless.

lol that's ridiculous mate. Neither of my parents went to university and my dad works in a trade and my family would easily be a strong upper class even after you account for higher costs of living and such in your world. Can you not see how daft that is?

& people don't change classes throughout their life? What a load of shite. That's even worse than that "you can take the kid from the ghetto but you can't take the ghetto from the kid" nonsense.
#35
Quote by Thrashtastic15
That's even worse than that "you can take the kid from the ghetto but you can't take the ghetto from the kid" nonsense.

Meh, I think there are definitely aspects of growing up poor that stay with you regardless of which class you end up in economically
#36
Quote by Thrashtastic15
lol that's ridiculous mate. Neither of my parents went to university and my dad works in a trade and my family would easily be a strong upper class even after you account for higher costs of living and such in your world. Can you not see how daft that is?

How does this relate to what I said? I really don't understand what you're saying.
Quote by Sliide90027
But as a bigoted lemming, you have so cry an Alinslyite slur revealing you lack of reason and sense.


Quote by MusicLord16
BOB 1. ur 20 and two u like evil things and idk if u worship the devil
#38
Frankly anything besides socio-economic factors is irrelevant. Your class is defined by income, nothing more. Within any given 'class' of society culture can vary wildly, not just in the 'working' or 'under' classes but in the middle and upper classes also. There are certainly middle zones in the four recognised classes (Under, Working, Middle and Upper), but very little other ambiguity.

This notion of someone shifting class because, for example; they listen to Jazz is absurd and frankly bourgeois. It simply propagates the notion that the defined classes represent a natural order that allocated people social status based on intelligence and refinement, which is of course rediculous. I myself come from an educated working class family (Mum's a teacher, Dad a social worker, both criminally underpaid) although technically fall into the under class myself, despite the fact that I could run intellectual rings around 85% of the so called 'middle' and 'upper' classes.

The only thing that shifts your class in society is income, pure money. Does it bring you intellect or refinement? Absolutely not. This applies to old money as much as new. Whilst higher income presents more oppertunities and resources for education, this alone cannot spit shine a turd. Don't mistake this for upper-class elitism, the most established and entrenched wealth on god's green earth can't buy you the graces of intellect, you don't need to look far for examples of this.
#39
Quote by Bob_Sacamano
How does this relate to what I said? I really don't understand what you're saying.

He's saying that neither of his parents went to college and his dad is in a trade job yet with how you define it he would be upper class.
___

Quote by The_Blode
she was saying things like... do you want to netflix and chill but just the chill part...too bad she'll never know that I only like the Netflix part...
#40
Quote by EqualOfHeaven
Frankly anything besides socio-economic factors is irrelevant. Your class is defined by income, nothing more. Within any given 'class' of society culture can vary wildly, not just in the 'working' or 'under' classes but in the middle and upper classes also. There are certainly middle zones in the four recognised classes (Under, Working, Middle and Upper), but very little other ambiguity.

This notion of someone shifting class because, for example; they listen to Jazz is absurd and frankly bourgeois. It simply propagates the notion that the defined classes represent a natural order that allocated people social status based on intelligence and refinement, which is of course rediculous. I myself come from an educated working class family (Mum's a teacher, Dad a social worker, both criminally underpaid) although technically fall into the under class myself, despite the fact that I could run intellectual rings around 85% of the so called 'middle' and 'upper' classes.

The only thing that shifts your class in society is income, pure money. Does it bring you intellect or refinement? Absolutely not. This applies to old money as much as new. Whilst higher income presents more oppertunities and resources for education, this alone cannot spit shine a turd. Don't mistake this for upper-class elitism, the most established and entrenched wealth on god's green earth can't buy you the graces of intellect, you don't need to look far for examples of this.


Ignoring social and cultural capital seems reductive as hell.
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